SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Federal authorities in San Diego issued a warning to the public today regarding the severe dangers posed by counterfeit prescription pills containing the extremely potent and often deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl.
Since the beginning of this year, there have been 92 local deaths involving the drug, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
``That's how many of our neighbors in San Diego County have died from a fentanyl drug overdose so far in 2019,'' DEA San Diego Special Agent in Charge Karen Flowers said. ``That is 92 too many. The game has changed. Fentanyl is a killer, and your drug dealer or best friend are the murderers.''
Mexican drug cartels are manufacturing mass quantities of counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl for distribution throughout North America, according to the federal agency. Based on a sampling of tablets seized nationwide between January and March, authorities found that 27% contained potentially lethal doses of the substance, the DEA advised.
``Drug dealers put fentanyl in heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and in that little blue pill you think is an Oxy 30,'' Flowers said. ``Fentanyl doesn't care how old you are, where you live, your gender or your race. ... Are you willing to gamble with your life for one-in-four odds of dying?''
Counterfeit pills containing fentanyl and heroin laced with it cause thousands of opioid-related deaths in the United States annually, according to the DEA.
Federal authorities urge anyone who needs drug-abuse help -- or knows someone who does -- to call 211 or contact Optum Public Sector San Diego online at optumsandiego.com.